Kaylee Henry has an easy way to separate herself from her peers at Hood College. When asked to share something unique about herself, her go-to response is, “I’m a drag racer!” Most people imagine drag racing to be a male dominated sport, but women like Kaylee are proving otherwise. Kaylee has been part of the drag racing community for a decade. She is now a role model for her younger sister, who is part of the junior competitions and who will continue the Henry Legacy.
Sass Talks with Kaylee Henry:
How did you get started with drag racing?
My dad’s side of the family is into it — it’s a family sport for us. I grew up going to the track with family and viewed it as a “boy sport” when my brother began to race. I decided to give it a try anyways, and loved it! This season my dad’s cousin is teaching me a lot of things about my new dragster.
How does it feel being a woman in the drag racing community?
A lot of girls are a part of it now, but I have had a few experiences in the junior competitions where people thought that I was a guy in the car and were shocked when they realized I was a girl. One time I raced a guy and I beat him and he didn’t know I was a girl. When I got out of the car to shake his hand, he turned around and walked away.
Was there ever a female drag racer you looked up to as a young girl?
I used to race with a girl two years older than me and she was always beating the guys no matter what and she was very pretty. I always wanted to be like her and she would always encourage me to keep pushing.
What do you wish people would know more about the sport?
For anybody in general, it’s more than just hitting a gas pedal and going. You always get told by guys that they can do that and can beat you, but they can’t! You can’t be bothered about losing. You are going to lose a lot more than you win. That is something that I struggled with a lot during the first two years of my racing career. I didn’t win anything and I cried and cried, but my dad would always tell me “if your heart is really into it, you will be fine”. I pushed through it and I wish that younger competitors knew that.
What do you see in your future in drag racing?
My goal for this whole year is to get comfortable with the new car. I am now in the adult division, and I’m prepared to lose a lot since I am racing against people who have over 30 years of experience. I have to finish getting my license passed. I know I will compete in some things this year, but the first two months will just be testing to get me ready and comfortable with how the car feels.
Once you graduate from college, what are your plans?
I am currently a sophomore attending Hood College, getting my degree in communications and want to do something in the public relations field. I like working with social media and want to work my way to the top of a company, but also want to go and get my masters degree once I graduate because it will take me a step further and open more opportunities.
What’s your advice to young girls who are watching you race now and aspire to be just like you?
If you don’t have confidence in yourself, there is no way that you’re going to get anywhere. Have confidence, believe in yourself that you can do it and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be into cars because you have to be into makeup or dancing. You don’t have to fit the norms! Go be into cars. Be the girl that gets her hands dirty with the wrenches. Go for it! Be whoever you want to be. Be different!